I read about this absurd tale on Reddit and thought it was interesting for a whole host of reasons. A 17-year old white girl pretends to be Muslim by wrapping a scarf around her head and then she goes to the local mall to lean about religious prejudice. Or something.
From Imperfect Writing, said girl’s Tumbler blog:
My name is Ela. I am seventeen years old. I am not Muslim, but my friend told me about her friend being discriminated against for wearing a hijab. So I decided to see the discrimination firsthand to get a better understanding of what Muslim women go through.
My friend and I pinned scarves around our heads, and then we went to the mall. Normally, vendors try to get us to buy things and ask us to sample a snack. Clerks usually ask us if we need help, tell us about sales, and smile at us. Not today. People, including vendors, clerks, and other shoppers, wouldn’t look at us. They didn’t talk to us. They acted like we didn’t exist. They didn’t want to be caught staring at us, so they didn’t look at all.
And then, in one store, a girl (who looked about four years old) asked her mom if my friend and I were terrorists. She wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. I don’t even think she could have grasped the idea of prejudice. However, her mother’s response is one I can never forgive or forget. The mother hushed her child, glared at me, and then took her daughter by the hand and led her out of the store.
I’m having a hard time believing that any of this actually happened. Not that I have a hard time believing this girl would be silly enough to walk around the mall pretending to be Muslim. Doing silly, stupid things at the mall is fairly normal for most teenagers. It’s one of the things teenage kids excel at. What I have a hard time believing was that a 4-year-old girl could first identify someone as Muslim because of their headgear, then be able to make the connection between Islam and terrorism. Who is this 4-year-old girl, Carrie Mathison from Homeland? I think a child needs to be a lot older to notice the correlation between terrorism and Islam.
I’m not even sure the average 4-year-old American kid knows what terrorism or Islam is.
First Ela’s offended because nobody in the mall will look at her, then she’s offended because the 4-year-old’s mother “glared” at her. In fact, she was so offended, that it’s something she will never forgive or forget. What exactly does she want? First she’s upset because nobody seemed to notice her, then she’s outraged because someone glared at her.
I just don’t believe any of this took place. I think she made the whole thing up. If I believed Ela’s story, if I thought any of this was true, I’d start wearing a hijab at the mall. The idea that I wouldn’t be asked to try a stick with some kind of funky meat on it in front of the food court Chinese eatery is very appealing to me, especially if all I have to do is wear a scarf on my head.
Pretending to be a Muslim woman seems like a small price to pay to be left alone at the mall.